Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • Repeat after me:

  • “I will succeed” “I’m powerful, I’m strong and nothing in the world can stop me

  • A lot of self-help books tell us to repeat these positive affirmations and visualise

  • success. But research suggests for some of us, these statements can have a negative effect.

  • Visualising success can actually cause people to fail.

  • In one study, participants with high self-esteem and low self-esteem repeated the phrase “I’m

  • a loveable person”. Researchers then measured their mood and feelings about themselves.

  • They found phrases that seem positive caused people with low self-esteem to feel worse

  • about themselves, and people with high self-esteem only felt slightly better.

  • In a follow up study, the researchers found that when those with low self-esteem were

  • asked to list negative self-thoughts with positive self-thoughts, their reported mood

  • was better.

  • It relates to the concept oflatitudes of acceptance”, that messages closer to

  • your position or beliefs are more persuasive than messages far from your position.

  • And messages outside your latitude of acceptance can just backfire, and strongly reinforce

  • your original position.

  • Sometimes our psychology causes bad things to happen to good feedback. For some, thinking

  • “I will succeedwithout considering how causes a drop in motivation.

  • Another study showed that visualising success can drain our ambition.

  • Participants were asked to visualise positively or negatively about things like winning an

  • essay competition. Those who visualised positively about their essay-winning prospects reported

  • having less energy than the negative visualisation group.

  • And fantasising positively about the coming week led participants to feel less energised

  • and achieve fewer of their goals compared to the control participants.

  • Of course our individual differences mean we respond differently to self-help techniques.

  • Overall, researchers do suggest using more directed affirmations - saying “I select

  • good gifts for peoplerather than “I am a generous person”.

  • And these positive statements kind of suggest we should only think positive thoughts. Don’t

  • ruminate on the bad stuff, but consider that the occasional negative thought could be motivational

  • too.

  • I'm a creative and intelligent person because I subscribe to BrainCraft, for a new brainy

  • episode every Thursday.

Repeat after me:

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B1 esteem positive negative positively essay success

The Negative Side of Positive Thinking

  • 579 52
    Johnny Tsai posted on 2014/10/20
Video vocabulary